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Self Care Week 2017

Posted on 12th November 2017 by

Self Care Week is an annual national awareness week that focuses on establishing support for self care across communities, families and Self Care Week 2017 generations.

More needs to be done to support people to better look after their own health. Empowering individuals to self care has many benefits for their short term and long term health and this is important since people are living longer.

Embracing Self Care for Life is about living well and being healthy. Being active, eating healthily and learning when to self treat common ailments are all ways to embrace self care.

Many long term conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are avoidable. However, numbers are still increasing. It is important to embrace self care, making healthy life choices now in order to look after ourselves in the future.

There are some really simple changes you can make to help avoid getting a long term condition.

  • Move more! If going to the gym isn’t for you, try walking part of the way to work, taking the stairs or having a dance to your favourite songs! This is something at goPhysio we continually encourage and support – it’s the core of what we do!
  • Stop smoking! One of the best things you can do for your health is to stop smoking. Ask your local pharmacist about stop smoking services.
  • Sleep. A good night’s sleep is essential to good physical and mental health so don’t burn the candle at both ends, make sure you get at least 7 hours sleep a night!
  • Eat well. It is vitally important that we get the nutrients we need and avoid excessive amounts of salt, fat and sugar. Try swapping chocolate and crisps to nuts and fruit for healthy snack options. Ask your pharmacist for advice on managing your weight.
  • Relax. We have such busy lives that we sometimes forget to take time out to relax, but it is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. Find time in the day to be still and quieten your mind. Consider mindfulness or yoga as these can be helpful.

During Self Care Week, and always, make time to think about the positive steps you can take to embrace Self Care for Life. Let’s make Self Care a life long habit.

When we see people at goPhysio, a huge part of our input is educating people about their injury and steps and changes they can make so that they are empowered to invest in themselves and have an active part to play in their recovery and future preventing of injury.

Read a recent blog we wrote on the principles of being well.

Be well goPhysio


Get Cycling with Cycle to Work Day 2017

Posted on 12th September 2017 by

It’s Cycle to Work Day on September 13th. The aim is to get as many people to cycle to work as possible. The longer term plan is to get more Cycle to Work Day 2016people cycling to work on a regular basis. Currently, almost 750,000 people cycle to work regularly. By 2021 the target is to get over 1 million people to cycle to work regularly.

There are many benefits to cycling to work. Cycling to work is a great way to burn off calories incorporating some exercise into your daily routine. It helps improve circulation, strengthen muscles and improve aerobic fitness.

It will also save you money on fuel costs and parking. And you will be helping the environment at the same by reducing the production of carbon dioxide.

Why not dust down your bike and get out in the fresh air. Start off your day the best way, on your bike. Cycle to Work Day 2017!

#CycleToWorkDay

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New report shows health benefits of swimming

Posted on 22nd June 2017 by

A new report has just been published, that outlines the health benefits of swimming.

Based on significant evidence and research, the report summarises that:

“As one of the most popular modes of physical activity, swimming/aquatic exercise confers significant physical health benefits for both healthy individuals and those with disease. Furthermore, these health benefits extend across the entire life-course – from foetus through to the frail elderly.”

As physiotherapist, we often recommend swimming to our patients. Water is an excellent environment for exercising in, not only as a regular, low impact form of exercise but also if you’re recovering from an injury. The buoyancy of water helps promote freedom of movement, increasing joint mobility and easing pain and stiffness. You don’t have to go to a pool and swim lengths! We often give people exercises to do in the water, that they wouldn’t always be able to do on dry land. It is also a fantastic way of maintaining fitness if you aren’t able to take part in your normal high impact exercise (such as running) due to an injury. Swimming can be a way to maintain cardiovascular fitness and endurance, whilst your injury heals and progress is being made at gradually returning you to your normal exercise.

A recent example of a young patient we’ve had at goPhysio, where swimming has been excellent. An 11 year old keen footballer with Severs (heel pain related to growth), Unable to play or attend football training more than twice a week due to heel pain, this young boy was becoming increasingly frustrated, starting to gain weight and loose cardiovascular fitness. Part of the management of Severs is to modify activity and treatments are limited, with time and normal growth rate  being a key part of symptom reduction. So, he was advised to start swimming regularly and his progress has been amazing. He’s felt more positive, been able to maintain and improve fitness and has gradually increased his time on the pitch, without aggravating his pain. Swimming has paid a key part in helping his endurance, strength, muscle flexibility and psychological wellbeing.

The report summarises that  for musculoskeletal health “evidence suggests that aquatic exercise has positive effects for a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, favourably influencing pain, function and, for some, quality of life. The nature of the aquatic environment is ideally suited to individuals with MSK problems, given the reduced compressive joint force secondary to buoyancy.”

Health Benefits of Swimming

Source: The health & wellbeing benefits of swimming. Commissioned by Swim England’s Swimming and Health Commission, chaired by Professor Ian Cumming, Produced June 2017

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Active 10 – 10 Steps To An Active You

Posted on 6th April 2017 by

It’s well known that our nation is struggling to reach the Government targets for physical activity and that this is having pretty severe consequences on 10 Steps to an active you our health and wellbeing.

I think a big part of the problem with the guidelines is that people think doing the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day is unachievable. That they have to be sweating it in the gym or running marathons and subsequently don’t do anything!

So, it’s great to see Public Health England’s new initiative 10 Steps To An Active You. You may have seen the posters or leaflets cropping up near you!

The message is simple, you don’t have to do an intense workout to get the benefits of exercise, walking briskly counts too. They’ve even launched a free app that takes away the guesswork. It shows how much brisk walking you’re doing and how you can do more. It’s easy to use and helps you set your goals for the day.

Why is walking briskly good for my health?

There is evidence to show that a brisk 10 minute walk each day brings the following health benefits:

  • Increased physical fitness
  • Greater ease in performing everyday physical activities
  • Improved mood
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased physical leanness and healthier weight

A regular 10 minute brisk walk can make you feel better in so many ways. It can boost your energy, clear your head and lift your mood, as well as lowering your risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Why brisk walking? Wouldn’t something more intense be better?

Research shows that rather than the number of steps taken or distance walked, it’s the combination of the intensity of the exercise and how long you’re doing it for that leads to the health benefits. That’s why we’re focusing on encouraging people to go for at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day.

More intense exercise can benefit those who are able to make the commitment to this, while brisk walking is for people who find it difficult to find the time to fit exercise into their day.

You can read more about Active 10 and download the free app here.

 


Top Tips From The Team: Health & Wellbeing Apps

Posted on 7th March 2017 by

Top Tips Health Apps

There are some fantastic health and wellbeing apps out there. Here we’re sharing some tried and tested Apple apps that we are loving here at goPhysio.

All of these apps have been designed to help support and encourage a healthy, positive lifestyle.

1. ESCAPE-Pain: Enabling management of arthritic pain

ESCAPE-pain is an innovative, award-winning rehabilitation programme for people with long standing knee and hip joint pain. This programme is delivered in the NHS in some areas and approved by NICE – the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

This app was developed in conjunction with physiotherapists from the Health Innovation Network in London to bring the ESCAPE-Pain programme to more people.

During 12 sessions, over 6 weeks the app will provide:

  • Engaging animations giving simple advice and information that help you learn what is good and bad for you, so that you can help yourself cope better with the effects of joint pain.
  • Short, quality HD videos show you how to perform simple exercises, removing the guesswork of whether you are doing the exercises correctly, and help you become more active.
  • Plot your progress to see how you are improving.

2. Headspace

This is a really well known app, but definitely deserves a mention. It is well known that meditation can help improve your focus, exercise mindful awareness, relieve anxiety and reduce stress.

The aim of Headspace is ‘Meditation made simple’. It provides guided meditations suitable for all levels.

Whether you just want to take some time out for yourself, if you’re suffering with pain and want to try some alternative coping mechanisms, or want to address issues sleeping – meditation can be very powerful.

3. Blinkist

I’ve mentioned this app before. If you like self improvement or motivational books but don’t always get the time to read, this app is perfect.

Blinkist distills the key insights of 1,500+ bestselling nonfiction books into powerful 15-minute reads or listens. Boost your knowledge and gain new perspectives to become a better, smarter you.

This app will help you:

  • Sharpen your professional skills with the best business books in your field.
  • Explore your many-sided self with the most impactful self-improvement titles.
  • Discover new perspectives on the world with bestsellers on economics, science, history & culture.
  • Stay on top of the latest trends and ideas in your professional field.

4. Moment

We use our hand held devices so much nowadays. The full extent on the impact of such heavy device use is still unknown. Besides the obvious neck, shoulder, hand and wrist problems that are developing due to long term device us, there are huge potential social and psychological impacts. (Have a read of this book if you’re interested in finding out more.)

So, do you really know how long you’ve used your device for in a day? What else could you spend that precious time doing? I’m sure the true amount of time spent on devices may shock some people.

Moment is an iOS app that automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day. If you’re using your phone too much, you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over. You can even force yourself off your device when you’re over your limit.

This is a fantastic app to bring some transparency to device us, particularly great for younger members of the family.

5. Stand Up! The work break timer

We’ve all heard the media and research suggests that sitting for long periods of time isn’t great for us. If you’re a desk based worker or sit for long periods of time, it’s recommended to stand up and move about regularly and vary your working positions. However, it’s not always easy to do this when you’re engrossed in a task.

Stand Up! is a fun, flexible work break timer app. It’s also great for RSI or work related upper limb sufferers, or anyone that needs to take regular breaks.

6. NHS 24 MSK Help

This fairly simplistic app gives advice on common muscle, back & joint problems. Although it only provides simple information, it is a great starting point if you’ve suffered an injury or are in pain and looking for some general advice.

 


Why ‘Lean Muscle Mass’ Is So Important

Posted on 30th September 2016 by

As it’s International Day For Older People, it’s a good chance to focus on what helps people stay fit, healthy and active into the later years. We all know that it’s important to eat well, stay active, avoid too much alcohol, not smoke and to try and maintain a good body weight.

However, although there’s a big focus on body weight, what doesn’t get much attention is how much lean muscle mass you have or should have.

What is lean muscle mass?

Lean Muscle Mass Lean muscle mass is the amount of muscle that makes up your body composition. So you could have 2 people who look fairly similar from the outside or weigh the same, however, if you analysed the muscle mass of both people, one could have a much larger muscle mass and one a lower muscle mass underneath the skin.

Take a look at the images on the left. In the middle picture is the cross section of the leg of a sedentary 74 year old. You will see their thigh bone in the centre, surrounded by their quadriceps muscles (thigh muscles) and then the outer layer is fatty tissue. In the bottom picture, you can see that a 70 year old triathlete has in contrast a huge proportion of muscle mass (almost similar to that of the 40 year old in the top picture) and minimal fatty tissue.

Why does it matter? 

The amount of lean muscle mass that you have contributes to your overall lean body mass. Lean body mass is very important. It’s not just about looking great or being stronger, sufficient amounts of lean body mass are actually critical for building a healthy life over the long-term.

  • Lean body mass is associated with your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the amount of calories you burn at rest. The greater amount of Lean Body Mass you have, the greater your BMR will be. This means that people with greater amounts of Lean Body Mass will have a greater energy expenditure while doing nothing, helping to avoid calorie imbalances, and ultimately, obesity.
  • If you become ill or are stressed, your body’s nutritional demands increase as your immune system gets to work. An essential part of your immune system working well is protein. All this protein can’t come from food alone, so your immune system also relies on your protein reserves or your lean body mass. So, in short if you have a better lean body mass your body will find it easier to fight illness, infection or stress.
  • Having a good lean body or muscle mass more specifically, helps protect against bones becoming weaker or thinner. Osteoporosis and frailty in later life put older people at great risk as they lead to falls and fractures. What is beneficial about optimising muscle mass is that you can increase bone strength and density.

In the medical field, loss of muscle mass is known as Sarcopenia. This is defined as the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and is a well-established factor associated with decreases in muscle strength and impaired mobility. The potential consequences of sarcopenia are frailty, physical disability, loss of independence and the depression that can accompany this; and the reduced ability to cope with major illnesses.

Subsequently, preventing the loss of or building lean muscle mass is a really crucial part of looking after your body.

What can I do to improve lean body mass?

The earlier you can start developing or optimising your lean muscle mass the better, because as you age, it gets harder to improve muscle mass. However, the good news is, it’s never too late to start!

Diet

Diet plays a huge part. It’s outside the scope of this blog to explore the dietary factors, but if you want to look into this further, this website is a great resource and also has a database of professionals.

Movement & exercise!

There’s no easy way to improve lean body or muscle mass, it needs investment. Although cardio exercise like running, walking or swimming are great for improving and maintaining the health of your heart, lungs and circulation, to improve lean muscle mass you have to include specific types of exercise or activity to your routine. The best thing to do is some form of resistance training, so using light weights to exercise your muscle and build up strength and lean muscle mass. You can also do things like cycling, Pilates or yoga. Everyday activities like gardening, housework, shopping and childcare can also be pretty strenuous and will help too.

If you’re a little older and are worried about hitting the gym or starting exercises on your own, maybe think about seeing a Personal Trainer for some guidance or otherwise look for an exercise class specifically targeted for older people. At goPhysio, we will be relaunching our Positive Steps classes very soon. These classes are specifically designed for older people and led by a physio to target strength, flexibility and balance. If you’d like to register your interest in these classes, then do get in touch and we’ll let you know when they are due to re-start.

 

 


Cycle to Work Day 2016

Posted on 9th September 2016 by

Cycle to Work Day is a national event, which aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for just one day. It’s on 14th Cycle to Work Day 2016September this year, and you can pledge your miles by visiting www.CycleToWorkDay.org.

There’s the chance to win some fantastic prizes too:

  • Pledge now to ride on the day at www.CycletoWorkDay.org and be automatically entered to win one of three Merida bikes and other bike goodies.
  • Enter the 12 Day Prize Countdown. It starts on the 2nd of September, just follow Cycle to Work Day on Facebook and Twitter to take part.
  • Last but not least, you can enter another exclusive draw to win a bike by sharing a photo you on your bike on 14th September using the #CycleToWorkDay

Don’t forget, cycling to work is great for your health, saves you money on travel and is a great way to de-stress at the end of a long day! If you don’t normally cycle, why not hit the streets on September 14th feeling safe in the knowledge that you’ll be one of thousands experimenting with 2 wheels and riding to work that day!

TREAT YOUR BIKE TO A FREE HEALTH CHECK

Free Bike Health Checks are available between 1st – 14th September. Hundreds of local bike shops across the UK are offering the check to celebrate Cycle to Work Day – think of it as a MOT for your bike. A trained professional will assess your trusty steed and give it a simple rating of either Green, Amber or Red. As you might expect, Green indicates your bike is in tip-top condition, Amber or Red means it is advisable to book your bike in for a service before you tackle your commute – safety is paramount!

Find a local participating retailer here: www.cycletoworkday.org/retailer-finder


National Fitness Day 2016

Posted on 7th September 2016 by

National Fitness Day is the biggest and most visible annual celebration of physical activity. Taking place on 7th September, this year it co-incides with the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic games. The day aims to try and help overcome the challenge of being fit, by involving lots of local clubs, parks and leisure centres in showcasing what they have on offer.

Everyone knows how important being physically active is, the health benefits are undisputed. But getting & keeping active, can be a challenge.

Here’s our top tips on how to be your fittest:

  • Don’t focus on having to EXERCISE, think more about being ACTIVE. You don’t have to be sweating for 60 minutes in an exercise class to get fit!
  • Variety is key – look to incorporate a variety of physical activities into your week. Mix up an exercise class, a walk, housework, a bike ride, taking the stairs instead of the lift, using the car less on a certain day……..or try different organised activities such as a group walk, yoga class, Pilates.
  • Make it fun & sociable. It’s much easier to stick to something if you enjoy it. Take up something with a friend or arrange a physical activity instead of meeting for a coffee!
  • Try something new. Think outside the box and look for something newly launched or new to you to try.
  • Use a pedometer or activity tracker to monitor how active you are. Set yourself goals or challenge friends or family.
  • Don’t let pain or an injury stop you being active. If you find yourself injured, come and get some expert help and advice to make sure you stay active. Even if you can’t take part temporarily in your chosen activity, there are lots of ways to modify your activities to stay active.

#FitnessDay


‘Shake Up September’ Workplace Challenge

Posted on 5th September 2016 by

Shake Up September Workplace Challenge

Companies and organisations across the UK are invited to take part in the ‘Workplace Challenge’ this month, in a campaign named ‘Shake Up September’. The aim of the programme is to promote sport, physical activity and health improvements across the UK’s workplaces.

With both the Olympics & Paralympics fresh in people’s minds, the Workplace Challenge aims to encourage employees to bring physical activity into the workplace by trying out as many Olympic or Paralympic sports as possible throughout this month.

Why get active in the workplace? 

We spend up to 60% of our waking hours at work and an estimated 40 per cent of people do not exercise enough, according to Public Health England. To help combat the issue, Workplace Challenge, seeks to inspire businesses and encourage workers to get active in and around the working day.

Inspired by Team GB, workers are being urged to sign up to Workplace Challenge for free and try at least five different sports throughout ‘Shake Up September’. The more activities they log via the Workplace Challenge website or mobile app, the more points they will earn for their workplace as they go for gold on a national challenge leaderboard – with prizes on offer for winning individuals and workplaces, plus spot prizes available for those who get active and get involved with the challenge.

County Sports Partnerships across England will also be running local events and activities, as well as offering a host of online offers with local businesses and National Governing Bodies covering a wide range of sports.

Research has shown that physical activity can boost morale, communication, lift team spirit, increase productivity and reduce the number of sickness absence days taken. From our point of view, being active in the workplace can really help prevent and minimise any work related injuries such as back pain, neck pain and overuse injuries or repetitive strains.

The site also has some great resources and ideas for helping encourage activity in the workplace, such as the Flexible Lunch Break Manifesto.

So, download your Sports Bingo card, sign up and get active!

#ShakeUp2016


Is technology to blame for youth inactivity?

Posted on 26th August 2016 by

Research recently undertaken by UK Active has revealed that 9 out of 10 parents blame tech for youth inactivity.

Some Facts & Figures

  • Only half of seven-year-olds are meeting recommended physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes/day.
  • 75% of the 1039 parents interviewed agreed that it is more difficult for parents today to encourage children to become physically active than for previous generations.
  • 90% think technology is partly to blame.
  • Around 10% of children start primary school obese.
  • Only 9% of toddlers are meeting the chief medical officer’s activity guidelines.
  • Just 47% of those in the study think there are enough affordable opportunities for children to be active in their local area during school holidays

As a parent myself I understand the daily battle between over ‘screen time’. I think my kids are pretty active. They all walk to school, they take part in as much sport as possible in and out of school, we get out as a family and enjoy ‘active time’ and they have a garden to play in. My older 2 also share my slight FitBit Activity tracker obsession (and love a bit of healthy competition!) and I was shocked by how little ‘physical activity’ they actually do some days, despite doing all the above.

It has made me think about the very common scenario or typical day of being driven to school and dropped off at the gate, the limited PE provided in schools, wet break (so no opportunity to move around at playtime), being driven home again for an evening sat in front of the TV/playing computer games/doing homework.

It does take investment by parents nowadays to encourage and promote physical activity. But I don’t think it’s purely technology at blame. Many families have working parents who are stretched to their limits too and time resources are scarce. We rely on our cars far too much, so we’re less likely to have physical activity like walking, scooting or cycling built into our daily routine. School sport and PE (in my personal experience) can be pretty shocking! It’s certainly not inspiring for those who aren’t naturally drawn to sport. Organised sports can be expensive and time consuming and not always accessible for everyone. Plus, screen time is often the easy option – when we lead busy lives as working parents, a few hours of quiet time can be bliss!

However, as another report published last year by UK Active highlights, Generation Inactive, inactivity is a ticking tome bomb for the NHS. Just like we want the best for our children in terms of education, nutrition, happiness etc. helping them be physically active is fundamental. We (parents & schools) have to be teaching our children healthy habits for life.

Getting kids active

  • Walk whenever you can – if you find yourself with a bit of extra time, build walking into your day. Seize every opportunity!
  • Take advantage of nature – parks, country parks, beaches…they’re all free to access (apart from parking charges often!) and great for getting kids of all ages active.
  • Arrange to meet friends in an open space for some semi-organised sports, take a ball, rounders, cricket. Once they get going, the kids often take the lead and parents can catch up with others from the sidelines!
  • Take advantage of regular free organised activities in the area like SkyRide or Junior Parkrun. There are also many free sporting activities around in the school holidays. Locally for example, Arsenal Football Club run free coaching sessions in the holidays and in the summer Eastleigh run a great Park Sport scheme.
  • Encourage kids to try something new. Many sports clubs offer free tasters. Try something different or not necessarily mainstream, you may be surprised by what they enjoy.
  • Involve kids in household chores – hoovering, helping in the garden, washing the car. They’re all physical activities, it doesn’t have to be sport.
  • Set a good example. If they see you being active, enjoying investing in your body by walking or exercising, it will be seen as a positive lifestyle choice.

With the cost of games consoles and games these days, how can it not be possible to find a cheaper alternative to be active?!